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View Diary: Is There a Christian Nationalist Majority in America? (167 comments)

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  •  How people learn it school is hugely influential (3+ / 0-)

    it will be interesting teaching in a school which draws from a somewhat more conservative population than did my previous school what if any kind of pushback I get when we look at issues like the type of nation established by the Constitution -  my normal process in Government is to have the students look at documents which make clear that even before the Constitution the states were moving in the direction of separation from religion, that even though the First Amendment when adopted applied only to the Federal government and not to the states, and that the last state with an established religion, Massachusetts, disetablished it in 1833.  

    I will of course also point at the "no religious test" clause of Article VI of the Constitution.

    While this SHOULD be testable content on the AP exam, the closest I have seen in the Free Response Questions was one that had four Supreme Court cases in two pairs, one pair about no establishment and the other about Free Exercise.  The students had to describe one out of each pair and how it applied the 1st Amendment (as I recall - the College Board websites are currently down so I cannot check the specific wording).  

    Were one to examine the first four of our Presidents, in their personal beliefs none of them would be considered "christian" by most of the religious right - that is, were you to offer their beliefs without attaching a name to the set of beliefs.  

    I am toying doing something like that this year.

    For example:

    The citizens of the United States of America have a right to applaud themselves for having given to mankind examples of an enlarged and liberal policy–a policy worthy of imitation. All possess alike liberty of conscience and immunities of citizenship.

    It is now no more that toleration is spoken of as if it were the indulgence of one class of people that another enjoyed the exercise of their inherent natural rights, for, happily, the Government of the United States, which gives to bigotry no sanction, to persecution no assistance, requires only that they who live under its protection should demean themselves as good citizens in giving it on all occasions their effectual support.

    It would be hard to read those words as coming from one who believed that the US was establishing a Christian nation, especially if one knew the words were directed to a Jewish Congregation - in Newport Rhode Island.

    By one George Washington  (you can read the entire text here

    "We didn't set out to save the world; we set out to wonder how other people are doing and to reflect on how our actions affect other people's hearts." - Pema Chodron

    by teacherken on Thu Aug 15, 2013 at 03:40:38 AM PDT

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